Monday, September 14, 2009
Three weeks ago I went to church for the first time in Flagstaff. During the Elder's quorum class one kid particularly stood out. I can't remember his name but as this story unravels imagine the love child of Mr. Burns (with hair) from the Simpson's and Gollum from Lord of the Rings. OK, not that awkward, but really quite hunched and bony for an 18 year-old. He introduced himself as an incoming freshman from Phoenix then quickly sat down, only to stand right back up and add that if anyone in the congregation was interested and had "about six or seven hours free one day" he would love to host a hearty game of Risk. My soul dwindled a little bit in that moment mostly because I knew there were probably a fair amount of guys in the room looking forward to taking him up on such a generous offer.
Yesterday I went to church again. The third hour class arrived and I took a seat in the middle row. Just after sitting that same boy was the next to walk in and sit almost right in front of me. He turned around to face me and the following conversation erupted:
Boy: Did you shave your head so we wouldn't know that you're balding? You are balding, right?
Me: (completely thrown off and a bit shocked) I, uh. ha.
Boy: I'm glad I don't have that problem.
Me: I like to cut it (unable to fully explain the haircut I had given myself the night before) sho(rt)....
Boy: (talking over me) My grandpa started losing his hair at 26 and it never came back. He's completely bald now. I don't know what I'll do if I have that same problem. How old are you? How old were you when you started balding?
Me: (staying calm and nervously laughing. completely aware that the room was near full and all ears were listening in on the conversation I was pitifully losing) I'm obviously balding and I like to cut it short because I think it looks better like this. I've accepted my baldness, it doesn't bother me too much.
Boy: (shaking his head sympathetically for my unfortunate condition) Man, that sucks! I just don't know what I would do. That would be so hard (leaning in to inspect my scalp).
Me: (leaning away. red-faced and panicky, looking around for some quick support. Locating the other bald guy in the room whose eyes quickly avoided mine) It's not a big deal, really. Everyone loses their hair eventually. It doesn't bother me.
Boy: I just really hope I never go bald.
Me: I kind of hope you do. Now.